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Suffering Bastard: The Case of the Curiously Named Cocktail

Suffering Bastard Cocktail

It's a curious moniker, isn't it? In the labyrinths of cocktail history, few names evoke as much intrigue as ‘Suffering Bastard’ does. This cocktail is beyond a blend of spirits and mixers: it's a glimpse of history, a convergence of cultures—and let's face it, a dash of humour for those who like to keep things light. 

Origins: A cocktail born amid war

Our journey begins in Egypt’s Cairo, during the tumultuous times of World War II. Picture this: the Shepheard’s Hotel, an oasis of luxury amidst the chaos. It was here, in 1942, that bartender Joe Scialom concocted this unique drink. Scialom had all it took to become a fixture: he spoke multiple languages, had the ability to remember people, and quite obviously, their beverage of choice. When the soldiers started complaining of their raging hangovers, he created the cocktail as a cure that went on to become a legendary recipe.
Scialom's tenure at Shepheard’s Hotel lasted until its collapse in 1952, after a riot. Through those challenges, Joe continued to be a local legend, staying put until he was exiled from Egypt. It was then Conrad Hilton stepped in, offering him help to open a new property in San Juan, Puerto Rico.. Scialom’s journey didn’t pause there; soon, he was off to Havana, Cuba, to open another bar. However, as fate would have it, his base moved once more after Fidel Castro's revolution. For the rest of his years, Joe continued his travels, opening bars for Conrad Hilton and leaving his mark in many corners of the world.

Suffering Bastard Cocktail 1

The name: A story of humour and respite

The name ‘Suffering Bastard’ is a nod to the state of the soldiers. Imagine the scene: weary, headache-riddled troops, grappling with the aftermath of the previous night, finding solace in Scialom’s creation. The name is equal parts empathy and jest—a realist’s acknowledgement of their plight.

Recipe: A melting pot

Now, let's talk about the drink.
Pour 30 ml gin and 30 ml bourbon into a shaker. Add a zing of citrus with 15 ml of fresh lime juice; it's even better if they are sourced from your own garden or the neighbouring farmer’s market. Throw in a dash of bitters for complexity; although this drink is pretty layered in itself, we still recommend a no-holds-barred modern approach. Now comes the fun part: shake vigorously to blend the flavours. Strain this bold mixture into a glass brimming with ice and watch as the chill sets in. Top it off with a generous splash of ginger beer. For the final touch, an elegant aromatic finish, garnish with a slice of orange and a mint sprig.
Aligning with our principles of inclusivity, the Suffering Bastard tastes just as good as a non-alcoholic beverage. Simply swap out the gin and bourbon for non-alcoholic spirits or increase the lime and ginger beer proportions. This version retains the original refreshing, unconventional character, making it suitable for all.

Suffering Bastard Cocktail 2

A voyage across time and taste

The Suffering Bastard is as well-travelled as its creator, gathering tales and blending cultures. Each ingredient embodies a different part of its journey, representing global cocktail culture at its finest.
Therefore, it is more than its quirky name. It's a cocktail with a backstory, a survivor of times and tastes, with each sip a nod to the past. So, when you raise this glass, you're toasting to resilience, to history, and to the art of mixology.